Rallying to the rescue of fishermen

Updated: 2013-10-11 07:41

By Peng Yining in Hainan and He Na, Jiang Xueqing and Wu Wencong in Beijing (China Daily)

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Close cooperation

In addition to naval rescue forces and those from government departments on the Chinese mainland, the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region sent a Jetstream 41 aircraft to help in the operation. It was the first time a search and rescue aircraft from Hong Kong had been allowed to fly over the Xisha Islands on a rescue mission, according to China Communication News.

"On previous rescue missions, the military ships, boats and aircraft were unable to communicate directly with those of the government, which caused some problems. However, during this mission in the South China Sea we had real-time communication with all parties in the operation through the Automatic Identification System and the Beidou Navigation Satellite System. It made the joint effort highly efficient and scientific," said Ruan Ruiwen, head of Hainan Maritime Safety Administration.

One of the reasons Wutip caused so many deaths was that it changed course as it roared across the ocean, according to Huang Zuoping, a senior official from the South China Sea Fishery and Fishing Port Administration Bureau of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Usually, typhoons in the South China Sea head west or northwest after forming, but on this occasion the storm headed southwest, which even experienced fishermen failed to predict.

The local government issued more than 10 warnings to fishing boats in the hope of alerting them before they were caught by the typhoon, but some crews told us it was already too late for them to shy away. Some didn't even have time to start the lifesaving equipment on their boats, according to Huang.

"The incident is a lesson paid for with blood, both for the fishery administration departments and the fishermen. It relates especially to areas such as weather forecasting and the issuance of early warnings. We will continue to investigate the reasons and make a report when the search has been completed," he said.